New Book: “Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey”

“Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey” (HoZac Books, 2022)

Author: Michael Goldberg

Includes over 100 photos and flyers by Ruby Ray, Michael Zagaris, Penelope Houston, Chris Stein, Sue Brisk, Bruce Conner, Annalisa, Marcus Leatherdale, Amy Starks, Chester Simpson, Hugh Brown, James Stark, Michael Goldberg and others.

James Calvin Wilsey: He was the “heart and soul” of the Avengers. His hypnotic guitar riffs throughout “Wicked Game” made Chris Isaak an international star. His story is the story of San Francisco punk rock, “the story of every working musician,” as Robert Duncan puts it. Jimmy Wilsey’s story is the story of rock & roll.

That song has been streamed over 300 million times on Spotify. Just in the three years that I spent writing the book, it was streamed about 200 million times – 30 years after it was a hit.

I’m giving 25% of every $1 I am paid starting with the first sale to Jimmy’s teenage son Waylon. The publisher is also donating a percentage.

Advance praise: “Here’s the story of an unsung genius that, in many ways, is the story of every working musician, a cautionary tale of crappy apartments and cool guitars, of untold temptations, abject surrender and the pawnshop at the beginning and end of the arc. It’s a story of youth, beauty and inspiration on the razor’s edge, of love and compulsion, solidarity and betrayal, of a quiet man who played loud. Of a dark song and darker fate. And of San Francisco in the era of the Mabuhay Gardens, $150 rent and Persian Brown. Michael Goldberg’s book about his friend Jimmy Wilsey will give you chills. Not since Ben Fong-Torres’s biography of Gram Parsons (one of Wilsey’s musical forebearers) has there been a more heartrending portrait of a rock star.” – Robert Duncan, former Creem magazine writer and author “Loudmouth” and “The Noise”

For more info or to pre-order the book: